Simputer to be launched in Africa, Middle East

Tuesday, 26 November 2002, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Simputer, a hand-held computing device developed in India to take Internet to the rural masses, is set to be launched in the Middle East and African markets soon, its promoter said Monday.

"We are looking at the market potentials of Africa and the Middle East to give out Simputer for contract manufacturing," said Vinay Deshpande, chairman and chief executive officer of Encore Software.

"We are currently looking at volume demand in those markets so that manufacturing becomes a cheaper option," Deshpande, whose firm is one of the two key licence holders of the Simputer, told IANS on the sidelines of a business summit here.

Deshpande and two of Encore's other co-founders are part of the Simputer Trust, which developed the device with a group of computer scientists from Bangalore's prestigious Indian Institute of Science.

The Simputer, or Simple, Inexpensive, Multilingual Computer, is slightly larger than a regular handheld personal computer and uses the free-to-use Linux operating system.

In India, Encore has already entered into manufacturing tie-ups with TVS Electronics and Peninsular Electronics in the state of Karnataka.

The company is also scouting for a third manufacturer in the state, and the deal is likely to be finalised in the next few days, said Deshpande.

Encore has already entered into a joint venture agreement with Singapore Economic Development Board to manufacture the device. "The idea is to manufacture and market Simputer at a competitive price," Deshpande said.

Simputer, which is currently being promoted only in educational institutions in India, is expected to hit the domestic market in a big way next month.
Source: IANS
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